Monday, 25 August 2014

Sketching..... overcoming the FEAR!!!

It's a beautiful sunny day and you think what a great day to go outside and draw and make the most of the good weather while practising those observation skills and doing the thing you love. What could be better? So you spend a bit of time packing some supplies into a bag, sketch book (maybe two because you can't decide what size or even type of paper), a bunch of pencils, sharpener, rubber, pens in different sizes, mmmm.... maybe some watercolours and brushes or even some coloured pencils (but then to decide what colours to actually take!). The list goes on and the bag gets more full and heavier by the minute! Then you have to decide where you want to go..... sometimes this is as far as I get because I can't decide, other times I will go somewhere and I will look around then I can't decide where to start....ultimately I'm putting off the actual act of getting my sketch book out because of THE FEAR!!!!

For me what it comes down to is two things. Firstly more often than not where I want to sketch there are people, and quite often lots of these scary beings who might just come over and start watching me draw. What if I mess up? What if it looks nothing like it's supposed to? What if they actually speak to me and say what on earth is it??? Secondly the fear of the sketch book itself. That first blank crisp white page. There it is, waiting for you to make your mark, and that overwhelming fear that it will all go wrong and that first page will be there for ever for everyone to see how bad you are at sketching.  AAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!! Do you ever feel like this?  I've lost count of the number of years I've gone through this process and come home (or sometimes not even left the house!) with an empty sketchbook and an overwhelming sense of disappointment.

Selfie at the Wildlife Heritage Foundation

As I've had a good chunk of time off work this summer (from teaching), I decided I needed to overcome this FEAR. It didn't start off great, I was always making excuses to myself that I didn't have time or if I was out with other people I didn't want to hold them up.... (the list could go on!) Then I got brave!  I decided to book myself onto a sketching workshop for a weekend with the very talented artist Vic Bearcroft. It was held at the Wildlife Heritage Foundation in Kent and I thought what better place to do some sketching than with some big cats... I wasn't wrong! I had the most amazing weekend, with the opportunity to get right up close to some incredible animals, take hundreds of photographs, learn about the cats from our fabulous guide Mike and most importantly learn how to go about sketching and then put it into practise!

I would be lying if I said I wasn't filled with the FEAR when we were set loose to sketch but we were taught very practical advice that we could put into practise with just a sketch book and a 2B and 4B pencil (no lugging a massive bag!). We also weren't allowed to take a camera with us when sketching, the thought of which was pretty daunting as I realised I had come to rely on it rather a lot! It did however make me look, and I mean actually allow myself time to study the animals even before putting pencil to paper. A simple but brilliant idea, I actually saw things I never would have! 

I might of come away with a few good sketches and plenty of rubbish ones (but who cares!) I realised I don't have to show people if I don't want to, I came away feeling elated and it allowed me to come up with new ideas for future work and most importantly made me realise how simple it is to go sketching! 

Me sketching at Fuengirola Biopark

I promised myself I would keep the sketching up, and I have.  I'll be honest and say I've been practising at home to start with using my photos from my trip and I've also been trying to use my imagination more. Then I decided to take the plunge and actually take my sketch book out (without a camera!) while I was visiting Fuengirola Biopark on holiday. As I had gone with my hubby (who isn't one for waiting around for hours!) I knew it would be an opportunity for me to practise doing some really fast doodles/sketches. The sketch book nearly stayed hidden in my bag as the FEAR was starting to creep in, but then I thought do I really care what these people think? Am I even going to see them again? And do you know what, once I got started the FEAR dwindled and no one even took any notice of me!!! All that worrying for nothing! Now I'm not saying I'm cured, but it has taught me that I can do it and enjoy it and it's made me realise I can open up a whole new world for myself. I guess that age old saying is true 'practise makes perfect'. 

Do you sketch? 
How does it make you feel? 
Have you managed to overcome the FEAR?